One night last winter, Antoine Leiris was at home looking after his son while his wife, Hélène, was at a concert with friends. Suddenly he started receiving text messages asking if he was ok. Turning on the TV, Antoine watched the terrorist attacks in Paris unfolding around him and tried to call Hélène. She didn’t answer. That night Hélène was killed, along with 88 other people, at the Bataclan Theatre.
Three days later, Antoine wrote an open letter to his wife’s killers on Facebook. He refused to be cowed or to let his baby son’s life be defined by their acts. ‘For as long as he lives, this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom,’ he wrote. Instantly, that short post caught fire and was shared thousands of times around the world.
You Will Not Have My Hate is an extraordinary and heartbreaking memoir which teaches us how to respond to a world full of hatred with generosity and love. This is the rare and unforgettable testimony of a survivor, and a universal message of hope and resilience.
You Will Not Have My Hate is the authors memoirs of an unimaginable time in his life. At only ninety nine pages for the kindle edition, it is a short read but my goodness it is a heart breaking and powerful one.
Antoine doesn’t go into any detail of the actual events from that day apart from how he finds out the news of what had gone on. The strength that Antoine shows at times is just over whelming. In one night he has become mama and papa to his seventeen month old son, Melvil. It just broke my heart just thinking about telling a child that their much loved mother would never be coming back home again.
Grief, without a doubt is quite a personal thing to go through, while reading the book, Antoine came across as being quite a private man. He very much deals with it all in his own way which sometimes I struggled to relate to, other times though I could feel the despair and loss he was feeling and I had to keep taking short breaks as I was so choked up and had tears streaming down my face. I would certainly recommend having some tissues on stand by.
I have absolutely no idea how I would react to losing someone so close to me in similar circumstances. Antoine shows a strength and courage that gives us hope in these uncertain times. Such a powerful message that I hope people can learn from.
My thanks to Netgalley and Random House UK, Vintage Publishing and Harvill Secker for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.
You Will Not Have My Hate is available to purchase from Amazon.